As an undergrad, the time is approaching when you’ll be ready to start searching for your first job. It may not be the smoothest transition, but that’s normal when you’re finishing one chapter of your life and starting another. Getting your first job out of college is remarkably different from switching jobs when you already have experience working in your field, and you need to be able to recognize those differences to better prepare yourself for what’s to come. As long as you have patience and are comfortable keeping your expectations realistic, you’ll eventually land a job that satisfies your desires.
Don’t Embellish Your Resume
One of the largest mistakes you can make is misrepresenting who you are and what you’re capable of, and the person reviewing your resume knows exactly how to spot that. Employers have seen plenty of applicants fresh out of college, and are familiar with what experience and skillset comes with your degree. Presenting yourself as very experienced doesn’t mean much to them in the practical sense. Simply put, experience means something different to them than it does to you. You’re better of placing your focus on how eager you are to learn and grow into this position. Taking a more humble attitude will show that you’re able to adapt to their required application of your skills, versus set in your ways and unwilling to continue your learning experience in a hands on environment. Include all of your accomplishments in a realistic way, because your employer will be able to tell if you’ve stretched the truth.
Be Realistic About Your Salary
Coming out of college is not likely to be the easiest time of your life in terms of managing your finances. You’ve likely accumulated a hefty amount of student loan debt, and that’s going to complicate things for you quite a bit. In addition to paying for your housing, bills, and everyday expenses, you’ve also got this large sum of debt you’re attempting to ameliorate. This can cause you to set your sights too high on what you’ll accept as a salary, but you’re not keeping in mind that you won’t be stuck at a starting salary forever.
Specifically seek out positions that will offer you an opportunity for advancement. You need to start your first day on the job already thirsty for a promotion. Focus on proving your worth to your employer and make it clear that your intention is to continue to climb up the ranks. If you don’t see an opportunity for advancement, shop around rival employers with better opportunities and pay you find more agreeable.
It’s important to remember that your first job is the key to getting your foot in the door of your chosen field, so the first year or two you spend working is more likely to lead to you establishing yourself in your chosen field instead of your immediate financial success.
Keep a Broad Scope
You may have a clear vision of exactly what your dream job is, but don’t expect it to fall right into your lap. If you want to work in something very specialized, you may find that there’s an extensive waiting list. Those jobs didn’t fall into the laps of the people who currently own that title, either. They had to work their way up to that position, and you likely will, too. You’ll have a much easier time landing a job that’s similar, or a job that could potentially lead to your dream job in the future if you’ve proven yourself capable. Gaining work experience that would demonstrate your capability is the best thing you can put on a resume. You’ll ultimately be considered a formidable and serious candidate if your employer knows, based on your past experience, that you’ve already primed yourself for the position you’re seeking.
With a background in Business Administration and Management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and self-improvement.